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Over het Nieuwe Jeruzalem en haar Hemelse Leer #163

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163. Wie het leven van de naastenliefde en van het geloof leeft, die doet dagelijks boete. Hij denkt na over de boze dingen die bij hem zijn, erkent ze, wacht zich daarvoor en smeekt de Heer om hulp. De mens immers glijdt vanuit zich aanhoudend af, maar door de Heer wordt hij aanhoudend opgericht en tot het goede geleid. Zulk een staat hebben zij die in het goede zijn, diegenen echter die in het boze zijn glijden aanhoudend af en worden eveneens aanhoudend door de Heer opgeheven, maar slechts daarvan afgeleid, opdat zij niet in de ergste boze dingen vallen, waarnaar zij vanuit zich met alle inspanning streven.

  
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Apocalypse Explained 143, 585


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Apocalypse Explained #585

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585. And repented not of the works of their hands, signifies who did not actually turn themselves away from such things as are from self [proprium]. This is evident from the signification of "to repent," as being to turn oneself away actually from evil (of which presently) and from the signification of "the works of their hands," as being such things as man thinks, wills, and does, from self [proprium]. That this is the signification of "the works of their hands," will appear from the passages in the Word that follow, also from this, that works are things of the will, and of the understanding therefrom, or of love and of faith therefrom (see above, n. 98; also that "hands" signify power, and "their hands" self-power, thus whatever with man comes forth from self.

(Referenties: Revelation 9:20; The Apocalypse Explained 98)


[2] In respect to man's self it is to be known that it is nothing but evil and falsity therefrom; the voluntary self [proprium voluntarium] is evil, and the intellectual self therefrom [proprium intellectuale] is falsity. This self man derives mainly from parents, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, in a long series back, so that at length the hereditary, which is his self, is nothing but evil gradually heaped up and condensed. For every man is born into two diabolical loves, the love of self and the love of the world, from which loves all evils and all falsities therefrom pour forth as from their own fountains; and as man is born into these loves he is also born into evils of every kind (respecting which more may be seen in the New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, n. 65-83).

[3] Because man, in respect to his self is such, means have been given by the Divine mercy of the Lord, by which man can be withdrawn from his self; these means are given in the Word; and when man cooperates with these means, that is, when he thinks and speaks, wills and acts, from the Divine Word, he is kept by the Lord in things Divine, and is thus withheld from self; and when this continues there is formed with man by the Lord as it were a new self, both voluntary and intellectual, which is wholly separated from man's self; thus man becomes as it were created anew, and this is what is called his reformation and regeneration by truths from the Word, and by a life according to them. (Respecting this see also the New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, in the article on Remission of Sins, n. 159-172; and on Regeneration, n . 173-186.) To repent is to actually turn oneself away from evils, because every man is such as his life is, and the life of man consists mainly in willing and consequent doing; and from this it follows that repentance which is merely of the thought and of the lips, and not at the same time of the will and of action therefrom, is not repentance, for then the life remains the same afterwards as it was before. This makes evident that to repent is to actually turn oneself away from evils, and to enter upon a new life (on this see the New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, n. 159-172).

(Referenties: The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 173-186)


[4] That "the works of the hands" signify such things as man thinks, wills, and does from self, can be seen from the following passages in the Word. In Jeremiah:

Provoke Me not to anger by the work of your hands, that I may not do evil to you; yet ye have not hearkened unto Me, that ye might provoke Me to anger by the work of your hands, for evil to you. Many nations and great kings shall make them to serve; that I may recompense them according to their work and according to the doing of their hands (Jeremiah 25:6, 7, 14).

"The work and doing of the hands" means in the nearest sense their molten images and idols; but in the spiritual sense the "work of the hands" signifies all the evil and falsity that are from self-love and self-intelligence. "Molten images and idols" which are called "the work of the hands" have a like signification, as will be seen in what follows, where the signification of "idols" is given. As man's self [proprium] is nothing but evil, thus is opposed to the Divine, it is said, "Provoke Me not to anger by the work of your hands, that I may not do evil to you;" "to provoke God to anger" signifies to be opposed to Him, which is the source of evil to man; and because all evils and falsities are from man's self [proprium], it is said, "Many nations and great kings make them to serve," which signifies that evils from which are falsities, and falsities from which are evils, will take possession of them; "many nations" meaning evils from which are falsities, and "great kings" falsities from which are evils.

(Referenties: Jeremiah 25:6-7)


[5] In the same:

The sons of Israel have provoked Me to anger by the work of their hands (Jeremiah 32:30).

And in the same:

Ye provoke Me to anger by the works of your hands, burning incense unto other gods in the land of Egypt (4 Jeremiah 44:8).

"The works of their hands" mean here in the spiritual sense worship from falsities of doctrine which are from self-intelligence; such worship is signified by "burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt;" for "to burn incense" signifies worship; "other gods" signify falsities of doctrine, and the "land of Egypt" signifies the natural in which man's self [proprium] has its seat, and thus whence self-intelligence comes. Thus is this Word understood in heaven.

[6] In the same:

I will speak with them My judgments upon all their wickedness, that they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods, and have bowed themselves down to the works of their own hands (Jeremiah 1:16).

Here also "to burn incense to other gods" signifies worship from the falsities of doctrine, and "to bow themselves down to the works of their own hands" signifies worship from such things as are from self-intelligence; that this is from self [proprium] and not from the Divine is signified by "that they have forsaken Me."

[7] In Isaiah:

In that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall see the Holy One of Israel, and he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he shall not see that which his fingers have made (Isaiah 17:7, 8).

This is said of the Lord's coming and of a new church at that time. "The Maker to whom a man shall then look" means the Lord in relation to Divine good, and "the Holy One of Israel whom his eyes shall see" means the Lord in relation to Divine truth. The "altars, which are the work of hands, and which the fingers have made, to which a man shall not look," signify worship from evils and the consequent falsities of doctrine that are from self-intelligence. So these words mean that everything of doctrine will be from the Lord and not from man's self [proprium], which is the case when man is in the spiritual affection of truth, that is, when he loves truth itself because it is truth, and not for the most part because it gives him reputation and a name.

(Referenties: Isaiah 17:7-8)


[8] In the same:

Jehovah gave the gods of the kings of Assyria to the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of man's hands, wood and stone (Isaiah 37:19).

"The gods of the kings of Assyria" signify the reasonings from falsities and evils, which are in accord with man's self [proprium]; wherefore they are called "the work of man's hands;" "wood and stone," that is, idols of wood and stone, signify the evils and falsities of religion and of doctrine that are from self [proprium].

[9] In the same:

In that day they shall reject everyone the idols of his silver and the idols of his gold, which your hands have made for you, a sin; and then shall the Assyrian fall (Isaiah 31:7, 8).

This describes the establishment of the church; and the "idols of silver and the idols of gold, which in that day they shall reject" signify the falsities and evils of religion and of worship which they call truths and goods; and because the falsities and evils of religion and of worship are from self-intelligence it is said, "which your hands have made for you;" that there shall then be no reasonings from such things is signified by "then shall the Assyrian fall."

(Referenties: Isaiah 31:7-8)


[10] In Jeremiah:

Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman and of the hands of the refiner; his 1 garment is hyacinthine and purple; they are all the work of the wise (Jeremiah 10:9).

This describes the falsity and evil of religion and of worship which are confirmed by the sense of the letter of the Word. "Silver spread into plates from Tarshish" signifies the truths of the Word in that sense; and "gold from Uphaz" signifies the good of the Word in that sense; and because those falsities and evils are from self-intelligence they are called "the work of the workman and of the hands of the refiner;" the truth of good also and the good of truth from the sense of the letter of the Word, by which the falsities of evil and the evils of falsity, which are from self-intelligence, are confirmed and as it were invested, are signified by "his garment is hyacinthine and purple, they are all the work of the wise."

[11] Moreover, the work of the workman, the artificer, and the mechanic," signifies in the Word whatever of doctrine, religion, and worship is from self-intelligence. This is why the altar, and also the temple, were built, by command, of whole stones, and not hewn by any workman or artificer. Respecting the altar it is thus said in Moses:

If thou makest to Me an altar of stones thou shalt not build it of hewn stones, for if thou move a tool upon it thou wilt profane it (Exodus 20:25).

And in Joshua:

Joshua built an altar unto the God of Israel in Mount Ebal, an altar of whole stones, on which no one had moved iron (Joshua 8:30, 31).

And respecting the temple, in the first book of Kings:

The temple at Jerusalem was built of stone, whole as it was brought; for there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was building (6 1 Kings 6:7).

The altar, and afterwards the temple, were the chief representatives of the Lord in relation to Divine good and Divine truth, therefore "the stones of which they were built" signified the truths of doctrine, of religion and of worship; "stones" signifying in the Word truths. That nothing of self-intelligence must approach the truths of doctrine and thus worship, and consequently be in it, was represented by the stones of which the temple and the altar were built, being whole, and not hewn; for such is the signification of "the work of the workman and of the artificer;" "tool," also "hammer" and "axe" and "iron," in general, signify truth in its ultimate, and such truth is falsified chiefly by man's self, for this truth is the same as the truth of the sense of the letter of the Word.

(Referenties: Joshua 8:30-31)


[12] Thus much respecting the signification of "the works of man's hands;" but where "works of the hands" are attributed in the Word to Jehovah, that is, to the Lord, they signify the reformed or regenerated man, also the church, and in particular the doctrine of truth and good of the church. This is the signification of "the works of the hands" in the following passages. In David:

The works of the hands of Jehovah are verity and judgment (Psalms 111:7).

In the same:

Jehovah will perfect for me; O Jehovah, Thy mercy is forever; neglect not the works of Thine own hands (Psalms 138:8).

In Isaiah:

Thy people shall be all righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the shoot of My plants, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified (Isaiah 60:21).

In the same:

O Jehovah, Thou art our Father; we are the clay and Thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hands (Isaiah 64:8).

In the same:

Woe unto him that striveth with his Former! A potsherd with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to its potter, What makest thou? or thy work, Hath he no hands? Thus saith Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, and thy 2 Former, They have asked Me signs respecting My sons, and respecting the work of My hands they command Me (Isaiah 45:9, 11).

That here "Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, the Former," means the Lord, is evident from what follows in verse 13; and "the work of His hands" means a man regenerated by Him, thus the man of the church.

(Referenties: Isaiah 45:13)


[13] In the same:

Jehovah of Hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance (Isaiah 19:25).

"Egypt" here signifies the natural, "Assyria" the rational, and "Israel" the spiritual; and "Assyria" is called "the work of Jehovah's hands" because the rational is what is reformed in man, for it is the rational that receives truths and goods, and from this the natural; the spiritual is what regenerates, that is, the Lord by spiritual influx; in a word, the rational is the medium between the spiritual and the natural, and the spiritual, which regenerates, flows in through the rational into the natural, and thus the natural is regenerated. In Moses:

Bless, O Jehovah, his strength, and accept the work of his hands (Deuteronomy 33:11).

This is said of Levi, who signifies the good of charity, and in the highest sense the Lord in respect to that good; reformation by means of it is meant by "the work of his hands."

Footnotes:

1. Latin has "his," the Hebrew "their," as also found in AE 587; AC 1551, 9466.

2. Latin has "thy," the Hebrew "his," as also found in AE 706; AC 88, 878.

(Referenties: Revelation 9:20)

  
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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 583


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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.


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